The Harpeth Hills Flying Monkey Marathon is not my goal race. Well, it started out that way. I just wanted a fall marathon. It's close and definitely challenging. But, it's not a course that is meant to be run fast. I really would like to run a 3:10-3:15 marathon. That was the target back a few years ago after I'd run a couple of marathons and had visions of a Boston qualifier. According to the McMillan calculator I should be capable of 3:05. Always seemed out of reach, but with the increased miles this year, it seems a more reachable goal. But, it'll take a hell of a lot of work to get there.
The byproduct of the increased miles this year is a little more speed, maybe endurance. Or perhaps, I've just HTFU. It finally got me to a sub 19:00 5k, just barely. As of today my mileage is 2,325.73. I'll end the year with right at 2,500 miles or more. First time ever over 2,000 miles. It actually is getting easier, lots of tough days sure. The one constant is it's still fun. Sure some of the long runs aren't fun, at times. Then again some of the hard stuff isn't either. But, the satisfaction when I'm finished is what keeps me going. So, all of this has helped to make some of those lofty 3:10 goals seems very doable.
Back to the monkey. I'm subtracting 10-15 minutes from the finish time of this race to gauge my fitness and the possibility of running Rocket City as my A marathon for the fall. It's 3 weeks later, plenty of time to recover and not lose any fitness. The one gianormus x-factor are the frickin' hills at Percy Warner Park. I wilt on the hills. Usually I can gauge my fitness level before a marathon by how well I run the double loop of the 11.2 at PWP. This will be my first trip back for the double plus since last year.
Hills. They either will kick my rear end or I will conquer.
Taper. It was to long, nope. It was to short, nope. Two weeks seems, just right.
Carb loading. This was an experiment. One big positive has been the loss of energy from the carb depletion phase which takes away all of the usual taper jitters/apprehension and such.
Training. Not really much structure to the training plan this cycle. Probably should have run a little longer mid week run. Probably need to approach 60-70 miles per week to get the "fast marathon".
Weather. Looks like we'll get temps at around 33 degrees to start and warming to around mid 40's, with sunshine and little to no wind. Almost perfect for the runners, tad chilly for the volunteers/spectators. Paula and the boys are staying home.
Colds. Pretty certain I've managed to avoid getting any of the crud or chest colds that are going around. Slight cough yesterday, probably just allergy related.
Fueling/Hydration. Should not be an excuse. Plan for 5 powergels every 4 miles, after mile 8. Water every 2 miles, with a succeed cap every hour and I should be golden. Need to make sure and water log tonight. Last solid carbs 4 hours before the gun fires. Probably carry a bottle to make sure I have fluids.
Pacing. Plan to average around an 8:00 pace, which may mean a 9:00 pace climbing the bigger hills and 7:00's on the downside. Unknown is the how much will be left after the beating on the downhills.
Injury free. No injuries or strains on the day before. Phantom aches and pains from taper never lingered.
I've left off a few I'm sure. Bottom line, Percy Warner Park is one of my favorite places to run in the middle Tennessee area. Having a marathon within the park is sweet.